Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14
Words: Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope (London: James Nisbet, 1857), pages 228–33.
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Blessèd night, when first that plain
Echoed with the joyful strain,
Peace has come to earth again.
Blessèd hills, that heard the song,
Of the glorious angel throng
Swelling all your slopes along.
Happy shepherds, on whose ear
Fell the tidings glad and clear,
God to man is drawing near.
Happy shepherds, on whose eyes,
Shone the glory from on high,
Of the heavenly majesty.
Happy, happy Bethlehem,
Judah’s least but brightest gem,
Where the rod from Jesse’s stem,
Scion of a princely race,
Sprung in Heav’ns own perfect grace,
Yet in feeble lowliness.
This, the woman’s promised seed,
Abram’s mighty son indeed;
Succorer of earth’s great need.
This the victor in our war,
This the glory seen afar,
This the light of Jacob’s star!
Happy Judah, rise and own
Him, the heir of David’s throne,
David’s Lord, and David’s son.
Babe of promise, born at last,
After weary ages past,
When our hopes were overcast.
Babe of weakness, can it be
That the earth’s great victory
Is to be achieved by Thee?
Child of meekness, can it be,
That the proud rebellious knee
Of this world shall bend to thee?
Child of poverty, art Thou
He to whom all Heav’n shall bow,
And all earth shall pay the vow?
Can that feeble head alone
Bear the weight of such a crown,
As belongs to David’s son?
Can these helpless hands of Thine,
Wield a scepter so divine,
As belongs to Jesse’s line?
Heir of pain and toil, whom none
In this evil day will own,
Art Thou the Eternal One?
Thou, o’er whom the sword and rod
Wave, in haste to drink Thy blood,
Art Thou very Son of God?
Thus revealed to shepherds’ eyes
Hidden from the great and wise,
Entering earth in lowly guise:
Entering by this narrow door,
Laid upon this rocky floor,
Placed in yonder manger poor.
We adore Thee as our king,
And to Thee our song we sing,
Our best offering to Thee bring,
Guarded by the shepherds’ rod,
’Mid their flock, Thy poor abode;
Thus we own Thee, Lamb of God.
Lamb of God, Thy lowly name;
King of kings, we Thee proclaim:
Heav’n and earth shall hear its fame.
Bearer of our sins’ sad load,
Wielder of the iron rod,
Judah’s lion, Lamb of God!
Mighty King of righteousness,
King of glory, King of peace,
Never shall Thy kingdom cease!
Thee, earth’s heir and Lord, we own;
Raise again its fallen throne,
Take its everlasting crown.
Blessèd Babe of Bethlehem,
Owner of earth’s diadem,
Claim and wear the radiant gem
Scatter darkness with Thy light,
End the sorrows of our night;
Speak the word, and all is bright.
Spoil the spoiler of the earth,
Bring creation’s second birth,
Promised day of song and mirth.
’Tis Thine Israel’s voice that calls,
Build again Thy Salem’s wall,
Dwell within her holy halls.
’Tis Thy Church’s voice that cries,
Rend these long unrended skies,
Bridegroom of the Church, arise.
Take to Thee Thy power and reign,
Purify this earth again;
Cleanse it from each curse and stain.
Sun of peace, no longer stay,
Let the shadows flee away,
And the long night end in day.
Let the dayspring from high,
That arose in Judah’s sky,
Cover earth eternally.
Babe of Bethlehem, to Thee,
Infant of eternity,
Everlasting glory be!